In April, I received an invitation and a complimentary conference pass from Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation to attend the SMB Nation event in Toronto (Previous blog post).
With the approval of my wife and business partner Monique, I setup the flights, lodging, and any other travel needs for the trip.
SMB Nation Toronto was my first venture into a full scale conference event that was not put on by Microsoft, Intel, or other vendors and that required a fee for entrance.
The contacts that were established at the SMB Nation Toronto event are priceless. Here were people who were serious about I.T, about their I.T. businesses, about sharing their experiences during the various sessions, and the attendees developing their skill sets both in the sessions and out.
A few of the presenters and their sessions that I attended:
- Calvin McLennan SBS MVP
- Calvin gave us a deep dive into the new Small Business Server 2008.
- His presentations were matter of fact and involved all of us who were a part of the sessions. Calvin welcomed questions and worked through many of them as well as he could given the beta nature of SBS 2008 at that time.
- Keith Benedict
- Keith gave us an excellent and in-depth look into the inner workings of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
- Have a look at his company's SharePoint 3 site to get an idea that he really knows his stuff!
- Joe Schurman
- Joe presented the new Response Point Service Pack 1 product features to us. Wow!
- The product rocks and Joe did a great job on showing us the simplicity in managing RP's very advanced features.
When it comes to the people attending the event, there was a really neat thing: There was no need to sift through all of the attendees to discover the gems. Everyone there was passionate about what they do and the products they work with. The friendships that I established at the SMB Nation Toronto event have carried on to this day.
It is important to note that the time spent at an event of this magnitude and expense was seen as an investment by those who went. That, to me, is the key to the quality of the presenters and attendees that I met.
This fall, SMB Nation will be having their annual conference in Seattle:
For those with the opportunity to travel to the conference, I highly recommend it. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet, speak, build business relationships, and friendships with your peers as well as build up the knowledge foundation.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
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